1 July 2008Finland will send a team of 27 athletes - 12 men and 15 women - to the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland 8 - 13 July.
Two years ago in Beijing Ari Mannio was the only Finnish medallist with his silver in the Men´s Javelin. This time the official goal of the team is higher: two medals and five placings 5 - 8 would satisfy the Finns.
“We have three realistic candidates for medals: Jelena Jaakkola in the women´s Javelin, Vanessa Vandy in the women´s Pole Vault and Niko Hauhia in the men´s Shot Put,” explains Finland´s Team Leader Jorma Kemppainen.
“We must also remember, that surprises, even big ones, always happen in the Junior Champs. Let´s hope, that for example our Javelin men Tuomas Laaksonen and Jaakko Talvitie could improve their personal bests by couple of metres,” says Kemppainen.
A joker card can also be Roni Ollikainen in the Long Jump or Kai Räsänen in the Hammer. Sandra Eriksson in the women´s Steeplechase is known as a very good competitor.
Jaakola beats senior Finnish throwers
Jelena Jaakkola opened her season with a big surprise at the "Keihään juhlaa" competition in Lapua on 25 May. She threw 58.59m to beat all the other Finland´s top women including Mikaela Ingberg, a three-time bronze medallist at the international championships.
She did it again last Sunday in Pihtipudas where she won the traditional Javelin Carnival competition.
Oona Sormunen, who is coached by Seppo Räty, a six-time medallist at the major international championships secured her Bydgoszcz-ticket in Pihtipudas and showed a promising improving form.
“I’ll fight for a medal in Bydgoszcz, and I’d like to break the Entry Standard A 60.50 for the Olympics, as well,” says Jaakkola.
Last year Jaakkola placed fourth at the European Junior Championships in Hengelo. That was a disappointment, but not a massive one.
“I saw that if you want to win or take medal, you have to throw technically well under the pressure, as well. I wasn´t ready, yet,” she says.
Vandy hopes to improve on European Junior placing
Vanessa Vandy vaulted her personal best 4.31 in Sopot, Poland 6 June, but has suffered from unstable jumping technique since then. She set 4.10 in Somero Pole Vault Carnival on Sunday, and that will not be enough for making the medal dream true in Bydgoszcz.
“Perhaps I´ve been thinking of jumping too much during the last 3-4 weeks,” says Vandy.
Vandy placed 7th at the European Champs in Hengelo in 2007 in a competition won by her team mate Minna Nikkanen. Vandy has beaten Nikkanen in two important competitions after that: at the Sweden-match in Gothenburg in September 2007 and at the Finnish Indoor Championships in Joensuu in February 2008.
Niko Hauhia will absolutely be a medal hope, if he´ll find his top form during the couple of weeks before the champs. Hauhia has so far set only 18.59 in this summer season, but he has competed only twice. Instead of competing, he has focused into training, and all his test results are very promising.
“A medal is my goal in Bydgoszcz - the colour doesn´t matter so much,” says Hauhia.
Hauhia was a favourite already at the European Junior Champs last year. He put 19.64 in the qualifying but could produce only 18.91 in the final and placed 9th. Henri Pakisjärvi did not qualify in Hengelo, but his Personal Best 19.38 in Kyröskoski shows that he is a potential surprise.
“According to the season list there seems to be 5 to 6 men near the 20m line, and anyone of them can win in Bydgoszcz,” thinks Hauhia.
Finnish team for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz 8 - 13 July
200m: Lauri Kohtamäki 21.65i (21.25/07)
110mH: Arttu Niinikoski 13.97, Roni Ollikainen 14.32 10 000m Walking: Veli-Matti Partanen 43:28r (47:14.63/07) High Jump: Eeropekka Uusimäki 2.05, 2.15i Long Jump: Roni Ollikainen 7.48, 7.50i Shot Put: Henri Pakisjärvi 19.32, Niko Hauhia 18.59, 19.50i, (19.95/07)
Discus: Pyry Niskala 54.42
Hammer: Kai Räsänen 70.24, Harri Santala 67.10 (69.80/07)
Javelin: Tuomas Laaksonen 71.53, Jaakko Talvitie 71.49
100m: Jenna Jokela 11.98, Jasmin Showlah 12.02
800m: Heidi Pappila 2:08.82
3000mSt: Sandra Eriksson 10:06.12
100mH: Matilda Bogdanoff 14.13, Marika Partinen 13.93
400mH: Emma Millard 60.34
Pole Vault: Vanessa Vandy 4.31
Discus: Katri Hirvonen 49.76, Elina Mattila 47.76
Hammer: Erica Ekholm 58.32, Jonna Miettinen 56.60,
Javelin: Jelena Jaakkola 58,89, Oona Sormunen 53.95
Heptathlon: Maiju Mattila Liedon 5225 (5387/06)